I am very pleased to be hosting Zhana, author of Success Strategies for Black People and her latest book Black Success Stories. In tandem with her writing, Zhana is also a personal growth consultant based in the U.K. and both books are part of her ongoing commitment to global peace and prosperity. Zhana uses Creative Communication (also known as NVC), which, in her own words, “ is the single most effective method I have found for developing self-love, self-worth and a positive self-image.”
The key message I took away after reading the narratives in Black Success Stories is inspiration. Yes, the books are geared towards Black audiences, but anyone will find meaning and inspiration in reading about the human spirit triumphing over adversity. These stories are a celebration and in a world where there is so much depression, war, oppression and negativity, it’s essential to realize you can overcome the odds, no matter your race or gender.
(Note: My second question for Zhana is based on a mix-up on my part – I wrote the questions after reading another interview with her on Black Women of Europe and had it firmly stuck in my head that her books were specifically geared towards Black women. This is not the case, but her answer was so good I decided to leave it as is. )
You can pick up Black Success Stories here. In the meantime, enjoy this mini-interview with Zhana!
“I’ve been writing since I was nine (i.e., more than 40 years now). I loved to read as a child. Plus, I was very shy. And in my family, people rarely talked or listened to each other. All of these things probably contributed to my becoming a writer.”
In your opinion, are the advice and strategies in your book relevant for women of any race or is it specific to Black women?
“Volume 1 of Black Success Stories focused primarily on men. I think Black children – girls as well as boys – need positive Black male role models. So do people of other races. When Black people are stereotyped, everybody suffers as a consequence. And when Black success is celebrated, everybody benefits. I think everyone benefits from Black History Month. Don’t you?
Len Garrison, the founder of the Black Cultural Archives, talks about how to research your family history. Of course, people in the African Diaspora are likely to be particularly in need of these suggestions, because the legacy of slavery means that our families were often dispersed and records can be hard to track down. But anybody wanting to research their family history can learn something here.
Similarly, René Carayol MBE talks about how to succeed in the corporate world. And Trevor Phillips OBE gives advice on how to have a successful television career. So, although the guidance and suggestions in the book are geared primarily towards Black readers, there is something for everybody.”
Who is your most significant role model/heroine?
“My most significant role model and shero is Harriet Tubman. My mother told me about her when I was a young child, and used to give me Harriet Tubman comic books (it was the Sixties). So Tubman has always been a major influence for me. I think it’s the fact that she was so uncompromising. Plus she risked her life over and over again for the sake of others. As a Buddhist, I continue to be very inspired by her because she was totally committed to freedom and liberation. Of course, she was often dealing with people who were more afraid of freedom than of slavery.
I am writing a choreopoem, “Harriet”, about Harriet Tubman and Harriet Jacobs, the author of Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl. You can read about it here.